But matches began to be sold in cartons rather than wooden boxes in the 1980s and 1990s, limiting Mr Warren’s supply.
Fortunately, the colorful images used to decorate the wooden boxes meant that they had become collectibles, with some fans amassing tens of thousands of copies.
When they heard of his plight last year, these collectors and their families began sending him spare boxes, which he carefully rationed to ensure supplies.
“Usually, not the collectors themselves, but their relatives – they’re mostly grandfathers, or so on, and they’ve been in the attic for years, and they’re wondering what to do with them.
“Lucky for me, a lot of these collectors kept the whole box, not just the label,” he said.
In addition to the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford, Mr. Warren made a two-foot model of the Royal Navy’s new Type 26 frigate and a 10-inch model of the offshore patrol vessel Trent using the boxes given. He has about 150 boxes left.
He only uses matches, matchboxes, a razor blade and glue to make the 1: 300 scale models, which he has been building since the age of 17 and exhibiting for six decades. .
Since he began he has built over 250 Royal Navy ships, including HMS Ark Royal, HMS Belfast and HMS Sheffield, as well as numerous ships from the United States and other nations, building a total of 484 models and using over a million matches.